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The dog days of summer are upon us, kids are out of school, summer vacations are booked, and over the course of the next few weeks retail will surge during its second largest shopping season – Back to School (BTS). Back to School represents a huge revenue opportunity for retailers in apparel, home goods, electronics, and supplies. At stake is a forecasted $74.9 billion in 2015 which means advertisers are gearing up to fight for consumer dollars. Here are three key areas vital to your success this BTS season:
Youth Targeting: The Millennial and Generation Y targets are key influencers when it comes to what’s hot and what’s not. These groups will impact parents’ buying choices and brand preferences, and will also determine which items are shared mostly via social media. Although parents hold the purse strings, many youth will use their own hard earned money during the season, too. (See infographic below). In fact, young adults heading off to college are about to make a lot of purchasing decisions they've never made before — which presents plenty of opportunities for brands to win new and loyal customers. (Google)
Mobile: “In 2015, we don’t trust ourselves to make a decision alone. We fact check everything, look for reviews, and check for cheaper prices… all online, all with our phone.” (nChannel). Today, our mobile devices are with us 100% of the time – including when we’re shopping – allowing us to conveniently access information about every product at any given moment.
As a marketer or advertiser, BTS provides a summer surge of consumer shopping – but with this spending comes competition in the form of price matching, becoming a preferred or suggested product, as well as the ever challenging aspect of ensuring your brand is front and center at exactly the right moments. Strategies like hyperlocal targeting, mCommerce, beacon activation, and active pricing are key. In fact, “19% of consumers will leave a store to look for lower prices online. That means people are literally walking out the door because of mobile eCommerce.” (See infographic for more on mobile)
Timing is Everything: Procrastination isn’t just for students looking to put off school projects and reports. Back to School shoppers procrastinate too, mainly due to pricing concerns and their own strategy for finding sales and lower prices. Consumers are willing to wait for lower prices as the BTS season begins to wrap up in August. In fact, many will wait until just one to two weeks before the start of school to go on their shopping spree. Retailers must be creative with how they convince consumers that ‘now’ is the right and/or best time to purchase. Strategies like dynamic messaging, special offers such as seasonal pricing guarantee, and rewards programs are key.
The savviest of marketers and advertisers also use BTS as an opportunity to test strategies prior to the holiday season. Ensuring BTS strategic efforts are activated and performance is captured will help influence plans for the holiday season ahead. To learn more about how and when BTS shoppers are spending in the coming weeks and months, check out our infographic below.